Johnson C. Smith University has received about $1 million this month for a scholarship fund that helps students pay the difference between their financial aid and tuition.
JCSU created the President’s Gap Scholarship Fund last spring. It’s designed for students who need help paying the difference between the school’s $25,000 a year tuition after financial aid and student loans. Major gifts officer Al Austin says the gap is typically between $500 and $5,000 dollars.
“They’ve used up everything the family has, that the school can give them, but they still have this gap, and that’s where this particular scholarship fund comes into play,” he says.
JCSU has set a goal of 10 million dollars for the endowment. So far, it’s raised 3.9 million dollars. The Belk Endowment has committed $825,000 and the Leon Levine and Wells Fargo Foundations $100,000 each.
The University says it noticed a problem in 2012, when the US Department of Education tightened its requirements for some federal student loans. Following that change, JCSU says about 400 fewer students enrolled compared with the previous year. Then last fall, the University says more than 100 students had to withdraw because they couldn’t make up the gap. In November, University President Ron Carter partially blamed the enrollment drop for having to cut the school’s budget by $3 million and lay off more than 20 employees.